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Anna Maria Barry

Anna Maria Barry is a Research Assistant at the Royal College of Music Museum. Her research focuses on the relationship between music and visual culture in the long nineteenth century. She has recently been awarded an Understanding British Portraits Fellowship for a project entitled Musical Portraits in Bohemian London: 1870-1930. This uses the RCM art collection in order to explore the important relationships that existed between artists and musicians in the period. A particular focus is the work of artist Edith Hipkins.

Anna is also working on death masks – particularly those of composers. This research has recently been supported by funding from Princeton University, and a number of articles on death masks are currently in preparation.

In 2017 Anna completed a PhD at Oxford Brookes University, writing her thesis on male opera singers of the nineteenth century. This interdisciplinary research considered representations of singers in autobiographies, novels and portraits. She has also published on the relationship between singers and the Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. More recently, she has written on Billie Holiday’s autobiography.

As well as speaking frequently at academic conferences, Anna has also delivered a range of public lectures at museums, music festivals and universities around the country. Before joining the Royal College of Music, Anna worked as a Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, where she was based in the OBERTO Opera Research Unit.

She also works as a freelance journalist, contributing regularly to publications including BBC Music Magazine, BBC History Magazine and Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. In 2016 Anna curated two exhibitions. Sir Charles Santley: A Victorian Celebrity was held at Liverpool Central Library and Opera in the East End was held at Queen Mary, University of London.

Selected publications

Barry A M (2019, December), Edith Hipkins: artist and collector, paper presented at Pre-Raphaelite Sisters: Making Art, University of York.

Barry A M (2019), Lady sings the blues? Tragedy, autobiography and reassessment, in M Perez & J. McKee (eds.), Billie Holiday: essays on the artistry and legacy (pp. 38-53), McFarland Press [ISBN 9781476674698].

Barry A M (2019), An opera singer’s Gothic fiction: the autobiographies of Sims Reeves, Journal of Musicological Research, 38:3-4, 233-252 [DOI].

Brown M, Barry A M, and Begiato J (eds.) (2019), Martial masculinities: experiencing and imagining the military in the long nineteenth century, Manchester University Press [ISBN 9781526135629].

Barry A M (2019), Charles Incledon: a singing sailor on the Georgian stage, in M Brown, A M Barry, and J Begiato (eds.), Martial masculinities: experiencing and imagining the military in the long nineteenth century (pp.82-101), Manchester University Press [ISBN 9781526135629]

Barry A M (2018, July), Operatic portraiture: creating and contesting identity in nineteenth-century Britain, paper presented at the 18th International Conference of the Association Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale, Canterbury Christ Church University.

Barry A M (2018, June), Scoring the women’s suffrage movement at the Royal College of Music, paper presented at the Centennial Reflections on Women’s Suffrage and the Arts, University of Surrey.

Barry A M (2017), The dream of a madman: constructing the male opera singer in nineteenth-century Britain (doctoral dissertation), Oxford Brookes University.

Personal website Visit website

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Faculties / departments: Research

Latest Publications

Barry, A. M. (2019) An opera singer’s Gothic fiction: the autobiographies of Sims Reeves. Journal of Musicological Research. ISSN 0141-1896 (print) 1547-7304 (online)

Barry, A. M. (2019) Lady sings the blues? Tragedy, autobiography and reassessment. In: Billie Holiday: essays on the artistry and legacy. McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina, pp. 38-53. ISBN 978-1-4766-7469-8 (paperback) 978-1-4766-3708-2 (e-book)


For enquires please contact:

Anna Maria Barry

Museum Research Assistant

0207 591 4742